Home » Eat This!, Section 4A » On the patio at Fig Tree Cafe

On the patio at Fig Tree Cafe

Meat and cheese board | PHOTO: FIG TREE CAFÉ

“Come with me to Las Vegas,” he said.

“Pierce”, wearing a tight T-shirt and ripped jeans, had another video shoot coming up and needed a travel companion; somebody who knew their way around Sin City. I’ve always wanted to go behind the scenes on a porn set, so his invitation was a dream come true. With too much time on my hands and too little self-restraint, I said, “Of course.”

We were seated on the patio at Fig Tree Café one pleasant autumn evening. Pierce sipped a Goose Island Nut Brown Ale ($5.50) and I a glass of Canyon Country 2014 Pinot Noir ($8.50). The Nut Brown Ale (5.4 percent ABV) combines a variety of malts to produce a complex chestnut-hued brew with notes of chocolate, honey and fine tobacco, and a full “nutty” finish. The medium-bodied wine introduces rich fruity cherry flavors with soft tannins, then retreats with a smooth velvety finish.

Our friendly server Gina informed us the Monday Night Special was a BOGO on appetizers. We took advantage of the deal and ordered the Crispy Eggplant ($8) and Jars of Avocado Chutney and Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus. The jars of smooth mildly spicy hummus and fresh guacamole are accompanied by slabs of airy yeasty bread with a good crust. The thick slices of eggplant are dusted with panko crumbs then quickly fried to a delicate crunch and served with arugula greens, goat cheese crumbles, an assortment of Mediterranean olives and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.

The main course choices range from Tequila Lobster Ravioli, to Short Ribs, to Ricotta Cavatelli with Wild Boar Sausage. Pierce ordered the Pork Belly ($21.95) special, and I the Flat Iron Steak ($21.95) for our entrées. The large portion of tender perfectly prepared pork belly is served with fingerling potatoes, crisp broccoli and a sweet reduction of red grapes and wine. I ordered the flat iron steak rare and the succulent juicy meat had a good sear. The steak is served with fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus spears and a dreamy bleu cheese sauce.

I complimented the chef and asked how he created such an incredible accompaniment. Chef Giampiero told me the bleu cheese sauce begins with sweet onions and garlic sautéed in butter, a little heavy cream stirred in, then white wine and lots of pungent cheese. Everything combines for a rich savory sauce which divinely compliments the lean steak.

The dessert menu includes temptations such as chocolate stuffed French toast, lava molten cake, berry tart with creamy ricotta filling and fig bread pudding served with vanilla ice cream. Sated, we declined the sweet enticements and paid our bill.

Fig Tree Café, with locations in Pacific Beach and Liberty Station, is the brainchild of owner Johan Engman and Executive Chef Alberto Morreale. The menu focuses on California cuisine using locally sourced ingredients, and offers mouthwatering dishes at a neighborly price point. They also have a good selection of craft beers as well as domestic and imported wines. The Hillcrest location, an eclectic open kitchen concept which allows patrons to observe the action, is the perfect setting for daytime dining or a romantic dinner after sunset.

Fig Tree Café is open daily and serves breakfast and lunch, too. Eat this, hungry readers. You’ll be glad you did.

Fig Tree Café

416 University Ave.

Open 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; 4:30-10 p.m.


figtreeeatery.com/ locations/hillcrest/

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Posted by on Nov 12, 2015. Filed under Eat This!, Section 4A. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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